The Asus ZenFone AR features not less than three cameras on its back. One camera is used for motion tracking (the bottom left one), a second camera for depth sensing (the right one) and a 23MP camera (the bottom left one). The phone uses all those three cameras to create a 3D model of your surroundings and track motion for Google Tango applications. The phone can measure the distance from objects in the real physical space and track the movement of the phone within that space. In this post, I want to talk about the 23MP camera which is also used for taking pictures.
The main cameras that the Asus ZenFone AR use for taking pictures utilizes the Sony IMX318 1/2.6-inch 22.5-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, which was the first Stacked CMOS image sensor with built-in Hybrid Autofocus and 3-axis image stabilization back then in February 16, 2016.
Sony developers this sensor to answer the demands of today's mobile photography market, allowing people to enjoy mobile photography by offering advanced features that pose fewer limitations and allow users to be more creative using their mobile phone cameras.
It's also the same sensor used in the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 camera and the Sony Xperia X. It can capture very detailed image but with 1.0-micron pixels, and we've seen in in those phones who also come with the IMX318, those phone do struggle to perform well under low-light conditions. That being said, the Asus ZenFone AR does have several advantages over some of the other phones that use this sensor because it features both a f/2.0 aperture lens and a 4-axis 4-stops Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). This means that camera can shoot at lower ISO sensitivities and therefore image noise at those sensitivities will be much less apparent. There is also RAW file support, so you can squeeze out even more details and get even better image quality, but you need to process those Raw files before they can be viewed on the phone or a computer and Raw files weigh much more than JPEG files, something to keep in mind when shooting Raw.
By the way, this is the first time that I remember that a company publish the stop efficiency of its OIS system (4-stops), usually phone manufacturers don't publish that information and it doesn't appear in the official specs at all. 4-stop OIS means that you can shoot images under the recommend shutter speed for a sharp image and still get a sharp image. The recommended shutter speed according to the shutter speed rule of thumb is 1 divided by the focal length of the lens. So let's say that the phone has 30mm equivalent focal length, you need to shoot in a shutter speed of 1/30 sec or faster to get a sharp image (handheld, if you put the phone on a surface you can obviously shoot with the minimum shutter speed). However, with a built-in 4-stop OIS, you can shoot at 1/2 sec shutter speed (4 stops less) and still get a sharp image.
The Asus ZenFone AR camera also comes with a Super Resolution mode which can produce 92MP photos by combining four 23MP photos.
There is also a 3-axis EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) for videos, to keep your videos very stable and make them look less choppy when shooting handheld without any external stabilizing accessory or when shooting a video over a stable surface and the stabilization also seems to work with 4K videos as well.
If you are a more expensive photographer, you'll love to hear that there is manual mode as well (sometimes called 'Pro mode'). This gives you full and precise control over the white balance, EV, ISO, shutter speed and manual focus settings.
Last but not least is the TriTech AF (0.03s) autofocus system. This AF system uses phase-detection AF, 2nd generation Laser AF and continuous AF (subject tracking) that all together work to deliver super fast and accurate AF and subject tracking performance for both stills and video recording. Asus benchmarked it as 0.03 sec, which is blazing fast, but of course yo need the ideal lighting conditions for the AF system to perform at its best.
There is also a Blue Glass IR Filter which sits in front of the sensor image area and before the last lens. From what I've read on some online resource, this Blue Glass IR Filter blocks mid-infrared wavelengths. This is used due to the high sensitivity of many cameras sensor to near infrared light. This helps reduce ghosting and overexposure in the infrared wavelengths, thus improving the image quality.
Other features include a Dual-LED real tone flash, a Color Correction sensor fore more accurate White Balance and natural-looking images.
Image credit: Asus